A season-high 55 percent shooting performance was not enough to upset first place Fresno State when the Vandals fell 76-68 Thursday night on the road.
Idaho coach Jon Newlee said coming into the game his team would have to take care of the ball, but that didn’t happen. The Vandals (8-18, 3-7 WAC) turned the ball over 27 times, leading to 17 second change points for the Bulldogs (21-4, 9-0 WAC). The game gives Idaho its second straight loss.
Idaho had a less than stellar start in the first half, falling behind early. But the Vandals found a way to come back, as they have done all season, and went on a 13-3 run to go into the locker room down by just six with the score 38-32.
The second half remained close. Half way through the period the Vandals went on a run that ended with sophomore Jessica Graham hitting a layup that gave the Vandals a one point lead with score 57-56, but it was quickly erased.
The Bulldogs countered with a 13-1 run of their own to retake the lead, which they never relinquished. The Vandals got close on several occasions, but Fresno State was able to hit their three-throws down the stretch and take the victory.
Senior Ganeaya Rogers led the Vandals with 15 points while sophomore Alyssa Charlston pitched in with 14. Freshman Stacey Barr rounded off Idaho’s top scorers with 12.
The Vandals are in need of a few more conference wins to get a better seeding for the WAC tournament, which starts in less than a month. Idaho still has a shot at fourth place.
The win kept things rolling for Fresno State and keeps the win streak intact. The Bulldogs are all alone atop the conference standings with a perfect 9-0 record. Nevada is the only team in striking distance of Fresno State.
The Vandals will continue the road trip when they travel to last place Nevada on Saturday. The Vandals will be looking for revenge after Nevada beat them earlier in the year. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Seniors Deremy Geiger, Djim Bandoumel and Landon Tatum talk about Saturday’s game against Portland State in the Sears Bracket Buster matchup and their last home game as Vandals
uiargonaut.com profiles University of Idaho women’s tennis player Molly Knox
University of Idaho mens basketball coach Don Verlin, forward Kyle Barone and guard Landon Tatum talk about the team’s 73-64 victory over La. Tech on Feb. 11.
Junior center Kyle Barone was named the Verizon WAC Player of the Week, marking the first time this season an Idaho men’s player has been honored with the award.
Barone earned his first ever player of the week award after leading the Vandals to three wins in a span of five days.
The Garden Grove, Calif. native’s week included two double-doubles, against Seattle U. and La. Tech. Barone was two rebounds shy of a double-double during Thursday’s upset of New Mexico State.
In Idaho’s 70-69 victory against the Redhawks last Tuesday, Barone posted a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds, while converting seven of eight from the charity stripe.
Against a massive New Mexico State team, Barone notched a game-high 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Barone and senior Djim Bandoumel also combined for eight blocks.
But Barone was most impressive in Saturday’s win over La. Tech. With a major size advantage, the junior tied a career-high 15 rebounds, most of which came in the first half. His 13 defensive rebounds were a career-high and 11 of his 14 points came in the first half.
The preseason all-WAC first team candidate averaged 15.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.0 assists per game last week, while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor and 73.3 percent from the free throw line.
Barone now has eight double-doubles on the season.
In what proved to be an overwhelming task for the Vandal men’s basketball team, it was Idaho (14-11, 6-4 WAC) who overwhelmed New Mexico State (17-3, 6-8 WAC), defeating the Aggies 59-58 Thursday evening in the Cowan Spectrum.
Idaho overcame a seven-point Aggie lead with less than five minutes remaining and with five seconds left to play, Kyle Barone slipped an unanticipated but brilliant pass into the hands of Djim Bandoumel, who was wide open for the lay-up. The Aggies put the ball into the hands of WAC leading scorer Wendell McKines but McKines’ deep jumper guarded tightly Barone had no chance, sending the Vandals away with their third consecutive victory.
“We had kind of an idea of what we wanted to do after the inbounds play and I felt like I could get by my guy and I saw Djim’s guy help and there was nobody guarding him to help on help so I dished it off to him and he finished it,” Barone said.
Against a much bigger, much more physical New Mexico State team, Idaho won the battle inside the key, scoring more points in the paint and out-rebounding the Aggies, a team who out-rebounded Idaho 38-21 when the two met one month ago.
Idaho, the WAC’s leading three-point percentage team, were a dismal 1-10 from three-point range Thursday and the same Vandal team that averages almost 67 percent from the free-throw line were 50 percent for the second consecutive game, this time shooting 6-12 from the line.
It was the efficient, yet effective Idaho defense though that held the visitors to their lowest point total of the year including both conference and non-conference contests. To further emphasize Idaho’s defensive success, the Aggies lead the WAC in total scoring offense with an average of almost 77 points-per-game. The game also marked the second time this year Idaho has been victorious scoring less than 60 points.
Though Barone and Bandoumel counteracted the Aggie size and speed with their strong presence underneath the basket, a less likely face in junior college transfer Mike McChristian picked the perfect time to heat up. McChristiaon hadn’t seen action in the team’s last three games and hadn’t scored since the Vandals’ loss in Las Cruces last month but it was the junior who propelled Idaho to a 10-2 run in the first half that would conclude with a McChristian bank-shot buzzer beater to tie the score at 31-31.
McChristian concluded with a career-high eight points off of a 4-4 shooting clip.
Coach Don Verlin made it clear that McChristian had been nothing more than a practice squad player in recent weeks, but his efforts were worthy of game MVP honors.
“Awesome game, probably the player of the game,” coach Don Verlin said. “I thought he turned the tides, Mike hasn’t played in a couple of games, wonderful kid, has been on the scout team and hasn’t gotten a lot of run for whatever reason… It was great to see him step up and make those plays, probably won the game for us.”
Down the stretch, the Vandals trailed by as many as seven with five minutes to play and while the clutch shooting was inexistent, the hard-nosed defense was.
Idaho’s 8-0 run to close the game consisted of four consecutive missed Aggie shots and two missed free throws.
While Bandoumel was the one that gave Idaho it’s crucial go-ahead basket, the Quebec native was the first one to praise Barone for yet another dominating performance.
“Coach called big plays for him and he was just going hard,” Bandoumel said. “And KB (Barone), I always say to him, when you have the ball nobody can stop you in that league and just go hard and good things are going to happen.”
Bandoumel polished off an impressive night with a career-high six blocks while his counterpart Barone tallied a game-high 16 points. Barone’s nine rebounds were also a game-high and his four assists were a career-high.
“It’s always hard to adjust to New Mexico State’s quickness and size and I thought we did a much better job in the first eight or ten minutes of adjusting to what they have to offer,” Verlin said. “They’re so physically imposing, for the lack of a better word, they intimidate you a little bit… I thought our guys did a great job of battling all night long.”
Idaho host La. Tech to close out the home WAC season Saturday evening at 8:05 PM in the Cowan Spectrum. The Bulldogs (11-13, 3-6 WAC) are coming off of three consecutive losses and fell at the hands of the Vandals 90-88 last month in Ruston.
The Vandals were able to pull out a 70-69 home victory over Seattle University after falling behind by as much as 17 points in the first half. The Vandals will face New Mexico State next on Thursday in the Cowan Spectrum.
This week we talk with Idaho mens basketball coach Don Verlin, forward Stephen Madison and guard Matt Borton as they prep for three home games in five days, starting 2.7 with Seattle U.
They have a knack for defeating the undefeated and Idaho’s 72-68 upset victory over Nevada wasn’t any different Saturday evening, as the Vandals (12-11, 5-4 WAC) snapped the nation’s second-longest winning streak, and sent the Wolf Pack (19-4, 8-1 WAC) away with their first loss since November 25, 2011.
A year after upsetting then No. 17 Utah State, Idaho pulled it out once again, this time on the road against a Nevada team who had slaughtered them by 18 points in Moscow earlier this season.
The Vandals received a late boost from junior center Kyle Barone, who picked up six points and two rebounds in the game’s closing minutes, four of those points coming from crucial free throws.
Nevada and Idaho traded the lead numerous times, setting up what would be an extravagant ending in front of 7,350 at the Lawlor Events Center.
Idaho converted down the stretch, grabbing the necessary rebounds and converting six of seven from the charity stripe with less than 40 seconds to play.
“We just played really good. We can kind of find a really good performance and we found it tonight like we did at Oregon State earlier in the year,” coach Don Verlin said. “We’re trying to find a secret to get them to play like that all the time Vandal fans, if I had that secret I’d sure give it to them.”
WAC Player of the Year front-runner Deonte Burton scored seven points in the game’s final minutes including a three-pointer that would make it a one-possession game but as the Vandals drew the fouls and ensuing free throws, the hopes for an unscathed WAC record slipped farther and farther down the drain for the hosts.
The Vandals were fortunate to catch Nevada on a poor shooting night that saw the Wolf Pack go 6-24 from three-point range. Idaho on the other hand, was 10-22 and both Stephen Madison and Connor Hill shot above 50 percent from beyond the arc, with five attempts apiece.
“I thought Connor came off the bench and gave us a great lift when we needed it, Deremy Geiger made a couple of huge shots, Stephen Madison probably played his best game in about five or six games,” Verlin said.
Though Nevada benefited from a monster night on the boards, out-rebounding Idaho 35-23, the Vandals had the upper hand in multiple categories, including field goal percentage, which saw Idaho knock down just over 50 percent of their shots. The Wolf Pack were just 24-56 and 42 percent from the field.
Barone’s efforts were clutch down the stretch but it was Madison who provided Idaho’s offensive spark. Madison was 7-10 from the field and the sophomore turned in a team-high 18 points which, along with Burton’s 18 were a game-high.
The Portland native claimed this year’s marquee upset was similar in many ways to the team’s win against Utah State during the 2010-2011 campaign.
“Beating a ranked team was a big deal but this team’s just as good as a ranked team I feel, they’re very good and it’s a big win,” he said.
Madison went scoreless and fouled out of Thursday’s loss to Fresno State but a “hot start” helped him acquire an offensive rhythm Saturday night.
“My first shot didn’t go in but I felt I rushed it and the next shot just settled down and fell into place, kept it going,” Madison said.
Barone and Geiger each added 16 points and the two combined to go 10-18 from the field.
Nevada forward Dario Hunt was quiet offensively with just three points, however his 11 rebounds topped all players.
Prior to Saturday’s game, only undefeated Murray State, the nation’s No. 10 team held a longer winning streak than Nevada.
Verlin is now 3-1 at the Lawlor Events Center as Idaho’s head coach.
“The bottom line is we played very, very well, we executed our game plan, the shots went in and you know we look a lot smarter when the shots go in and you’re playing like that,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue that we have three big games this week at home, four in a row at home.”
Idaho returns to the Palouse this week for their longest home stand of the 2011-2012 campaign. The four-game stretch will square the Vandals up against future-WAC opponent Seattle U., Portland State in the annual Sears BracketBusters match-up and WAC contests against La. Tech and New Mexico State.
The week opens up on Tuesday when Idaho hosts the Redhawks, a squad they beat 73-62 in Seattle last December. Tipoff in the Cowan Spectrum is 7:05 PM.
It looked like a ninth consecutive loss was on its way to the Idaho women’s basketball team. The Vandals found themselves down 18 early in the second half, but Idaho went on a terror to overcome Hawaii 69-61 for their first conference win of the season.
After 36 days and eight consecutive losses, the Vandals (6-16, 1-5 WAC) finally tasted victory again. Senior guard Keri Arendse led the way for Idaho with a career high 19 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double as a Vandal. Idaho coach Jon Newlee said Arendse’s performance sparked the rest of the team.
“I thought her drives really got her going and she knocked down a couple 3′s,” Newlee said. “I love the emotion, they played with heart and emotion on the road a long way from home and we just hung together.”
Despite a competitive first half, the Vandals went into halftime down by 11. Hawaii took control early in the second half and got its lead to 18 with 17:20 left to play, but that’s when the Vandals turned things up. Idaho then went on a 26-5 run to take the lead.
The Warriors would tie the game again, but the Vandals were able to keep the momentum on their side all the way to the finish for the much-needed win.
Newlee said he was thrilled with the way his team came back.
“When we got down 18 it was time to sink or swim and see what we’re actually made of,” Newlee said. “That’s one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been a part of, with everything going against us and we just kept fighting and fighting. I’m so proud of my team right now.”
The win came despite a large differential in rebounds. The Vandals gave up 30 offensive boards, which lead to 25 Hawaii points.
Idaho’s defense kept the Vandals in the game, holding the Warriors to just 26.9 percent shooting while the Vandals shot 45.2 percent.
Turnovers have been an issue for Idaho all season, but that was not the case against Hawaii. The Vandals only turned the ball over a season-low seven times.
The Vandals got their first WAC win of the season, but they’re still at the bottom of the conference. Newlee said he hopes this win will get momentum back on his team’s side.
“It should be a springboard,” Newlee said. “To get on the road and get this big win here it’s great for everybody.”
The Vandals will wrap up their road trip when they visit San Jose State Saturday. Idaho will then return home for two games against New Mexico State and La. Tech.
Enduring one of its worst offensive showings of the season, the Idaho men’s basketball team suffered a 65-55 road loss at the hands of Fresno State Thursday evening at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
The Bulldogs, who scrapped together a crucial 17-4 run in the first half, took the game by storm early. The Vandals did everything in their power to cut down a 17-point deficit, but the offensive production wasn’t there as Idaho (11-11, 4-4) dropped its second consecutive WAC game.
“Dug too big of a hole I thought, you’ve got to give Fresno State some credit they were very physical around the basket tonight,” coach Don Verlin said. “I thought we got a bunch of very good looks early that we weren’t able to finish and then our basketball team let our offense affect our defense.”
The Bulldogs sped off to a rip-roaring start that saw them go on an 11-0 run toward the end of the first half and improve their lead to 36-20 by halftime.
Fresno State shot an astounding 63.6 percent from the field in the first while the ice-cold Vandals were 7-25 and 28 percent.
Idaho found an answer to the Bulldogs’ Kevin Olekaibe, who only scored two first-half points, but forward Jerry Brown gave Verlin’s squad the majority of its problems with 10 first-half points and six rebounds.
Mansa Habeeb came off the bench to provide an offensive spark with 10 first-half points, which tallied a career high for the junior.
The Vandals built off Habeeb’s first-half success and came out of the gates hot in the second, but it took a solid 10 minutes for Idaho’s defensive pressure to translate into defensive stops.
“I really felt like we played pretty good basketball for a long period of time, get it back to five and climb almost the whole hill and get a stop and don’t get the offensive rebound, they get an and-one and I thought we were back in control of that game but the hole was so big,” Verlin said.
After erasing a 17-point deficit Idaho decreased the Fresno State lead to five with just less than four minutes remaining. The shooting hand Idaho acquired early in the second half died down in the final minutes, and multiple fouls sent the Bulldogs to the charity stripe 12 times in the final five minutes.
The loss marked Idaho’s second-lowest scoring performance of the season and while its 39.2 percent shooting mark was an improvement from the first half, it wasn’t near enough to match that of the Bulldogs, who shot 50 percent.
Habeeb tallied just two points in the second half, concluding with 12 and Kyle Barone finished as the team leader in points with 14. Barone snatched eight rebounds but turned the ball over five times.
Bandoumel led all players with 11 rebounds but the senior followed a career-high 24-point performance against Hawaii, with seven points Thursday.
“Very disappointed with the outcome, very proud of our guys for how they competed in the second half,” Verlin said.
The Vandals face their most difficult WAC test Saturday at Nevada. The Wolf Pack (18-3, 7-0 WAC), resemble in many ways, last year’s Utah State Aggies. Nevada has won 16 consecutive games, hasn’t lost since Nov. 25 against BYU and has six AP Top 25 votes. Guard Deonte Burton is making his WAC Player of the Year case stronger and the Los Angeles native averages more than 15 points-per-game with 4.5 assists-per-game.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Lawlor Events Center.
Idaho football coach Robb Akey talks about the 24 new recruits that have signed letters of intention to play for the Vandals next season.